Season 1 Episode 1
Starring Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Damon Gupton and James Remar
The first episode of Black Lightning starts with situations that mirror the experience of many people in the African-American community and there are moments that resonate with many more. Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is sitting in a police station with his youngest daughter Jennifer (McClain) as the news blares on about the rise of gang violence in the city and a peaceful protest that was broken up by violence by both the gang members and the police. Anissa (Nafessa Pierce) was arrested as one of the protestors and she is released.
As the three of them head off to a dinner in Jefferson’s honor, they are stopped by the police and Jefferson is cuffed and marched in front of a witness in his suit and tie in a scene that is familiar to many black men with a reaction that many of us wish we could have. There are a lot of moments in the first episode that black men and in many respects, black fathers wish they could re-enact in their own lives. Jefferson goes to his celebration and Jennifer decides to duck out and go to a local club. A club that is owned and populated by members of the 100 gang that has been terrorizing the city.
Jefferson finds out and goes to the club to get his daughter. After taking out the thugs holding Jennifer, Pierce tries to leave the club and is stopped by the police who proceed to stop him again. As the episode progresses, we are introduced to the big bad of the series Tobias Whale as well as seeing other potential threats that all come together to show Jefferson that the world needs Black Lightning more than ever. The episode culminates in Jefferson donning a new suit and going after the gang members that make the mistake of coming to his school and kidnapping his daughters.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable first episode and I sincerely love the character moments as well as the action. There is a reality of character to these people and the situations that they are in. Even with the addition of superpowers and costumes, the characters and humanity remain intact. I definitely plan to watch the next episode.